Energy can be easily saved mainly on Asian type of cooking
Posted on December 28th, 2015

Dr Hector Perera          London

I admire many different types of cooking done in many British TV shows. They just don’t cook Asian type food only but so many varieties of dishes from around the world. There are so many types of chefs appear in TV shows to cook food from African, America, Caribbean, Chinese, East European, French, Greek, Indian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Portuguese, South American, and Spanish then British. Only when you see these chefs working then you would realise the chefs do not show there are no technique in those shows how to cook and save energy used in those kinds of cooking. I am not a chef but a science teacher and I apply the knowledge of science in scientific energy saving cooking. I mentioned before as well, only some people have witnessed my type of cooking in many TV shows in Sri Lanka, including the recent one in Sirasa TV. If my work is good enough to Sri Lanka sure it should be good enough to help the general public save some yes some energy wasted in cooking. Energy means money so why waste energy or burn money when some can be saved. I would have easily demonstrated if I had a chance in a TV show in England. We assume that they are the ways to cook those kinds of cooking. Any country cooking can come under the following types but in how many types can save energy?

The basic methods of cooking include (1) baking, (2) roasting, (3) broiling and grilling, (4) frying, (5) boiling, (6) simmering, and (7) steaming. Salt, pepper, and other seasonings may be added to improve flavour. Let me briefly go through some of these cooking as follows.


Food is baked by cooking it in an oven.  In most cases, the oven temperature ranges from 300 to 450 °F (149 to 232 °C). The word baking usually refers to the cooking of foods made from a batter or dough. Such foods include breads, cakes, cookies, and pastries.  However, casseroles, a few vegetables and fruits, and some cuts of meats can also be baked.  Anyone who baked any food have not shown any kind of energy saving and I have no idea of saving energy in baking.

Roasting is a type of cooking food uncovered in hot air. The term usually refers to the cooking of meat. For example, a turkey or a leg of lamb is roasted. This time of the year, that is in Christmas, Boxing day and in the coming New Year people would certainly eat roasted turkey, chicken, lamb, pork, beef and some fish. In roasting, the meat is usually placed on a rack in a shallow pan and cooked uncovered in an oven. The temperature usually ranges from 300 to 350 °F (149 to 177 °C).  Here again no energy can be saved.

Broiling and grilling are cooking by the application of direct heat. In broiling, the food lies directly under a continuous heat source. Meat can be broiled by placing it on a rack in a shallow broiler pan. The surface of the meat lies 3 to 5 inches (8 to 13 centimetres) under the flames in a gas range broiler or below the broiler heating unit in an electric oven. In pan-broiling, the meat cooks in a skillet over a burner. The fat that melts from the meat is poured out of the pan as it accumulates.

Leave the door open slightly when broiling in an electric oven to prevent the air in the oven from becoming too hot. In grilling, the food lies directly over the heat source. Cooks sometimes grill sandwiches in a skillet on the stove.

In barbecuing, highly seasoned meat is grilled over hot coals. This is quite common in England in the summer time then friends and relative are invited for a reunion.

Frying is the cooking of food in fat, such as butter or vegetable oil. Frying adds fat and calories to food because the food absorbs some of the fat in the pan.

There are three main methods of frying: (1) Deep-frying, (2) pan frying, and (3) stir-frying.  In deep-frying, a large amount of fat is heated to about 350 °F (177 °C)      in a heavy saucepan or an electric appliance called a deep-fryer. The hot fat completely covers the food. Deep-frying is a popular way of cooking chicken,   French fried potatoes, and shrimps.

In pan frying, also called saunteing, the food cooks in a small amount of fat, usually in a skillet. Chicken, eggs, fish, and red meat are often pan fried. Here the food is tossed up and down then far too much oily vapours are given out. In these cases the people who do that type of cooking, inhale those vapours all the time. Believe me most of these famous British TV chefs do this kind of actions nearly every week, no energy saving and no smell saving in that type of cooking. The people who do this type of cooking naturally have to inhale those oil vapours while frying. I am sure one can reduce the amount of oily vapours given out. Higher the temperature, faster the rate of vapours given out but if one uses a moderate temperature then it can be controlled but the British TV chefs love to show loads of vapours given out while frying.

In stir-frying, meat or vegetables cook in a skillet or in a wok, a large, thin metal pan with a round bottom. The food is cut into small pieces and cooked in an extremely small amount of fat. The cook fries the food at a high temperature

for only a few minutes and stirs it constantly with a tossing motion. Again oily vapours given out while tossing. Who would say that kind of cooking is healthy? Those vapours are unhealthy to inhale, they can lead to long term respiratory and cardiac problems. Again if the temperature is controlled, it can cut down.


Boiling is cooking food in boiling water, which has a temperature of about 212 °F (100 °C). In boiling, air bubbles rise to the surface of the water and break.

Potatoes and other vegetables are often boiled in a saucepan over a burner. Rice is mainly cooked this way in Asian countries such as in India and Sri Lanka. I am sure other counties as well eat these kinds of food.

This is the most common method of cooking and is also the simplest. With this method of cooking, enough water is added to food and it is then cooked over the fire. The action of the heated water makes the food to get cooked. The liquid is usually thrown away after the food is cooked. In the case of cooking rice, all the water is absorbed by the rice grains to make it get cooked. During the heating process, the nutrients can get lost or destroyed and the flavour can be reduced with this method of cooking. If you over cooked cabbage, all the nutrients can get lost. Rice can be easily cooked at a low temperature and save energy wastage.

Simmering is cooking food in water that is just below the boiling point.  Such foods as eggs and meats should be simmered rather than boiled.  Cooks often use covered saucepans to simmer foods.  Slow cookers are electric appliances that simmer foods at low temperatures for 4 to 12 hours.  A cook puts the food and some water in a slow cooker and sets the temperature.  Health experts recommend caution when using a slow cooker for meat and other foods prone to bacterial growth at warm temperatures.  Use sanitary methods in preparing the food and keep it refrigerated until just before cooking.

Steaming is cooking food in steam. It is used mostly to cook vegetables.

To steam vegetables, place them on a rack or perforated pan in a saucepan and add water to the saucepan. The water collects below the rack or perforated pan and the vegetables remain above and out of the liquid. Cover the saucepan and heat it on a burner until the water boils and forms steam, which surrounds and cooks the vegetables. Steaming takes longer than boiling.  However, steamed vegetables retain better colour and flavour than boiled vegetables do. They also have more nutrients because certain vitamins, including vitamin C, dissolve easily in water and may be removed by boiling.

In Sri Lanka they prepare string hoppers and pittu by steaming. One might not understand what these are but any Asian from Sri Lanka would understand what I mean. Many people prefer these kinds of food for the breakfast and for supper. Try string hoppers with coconut sambol, kiri hodi and chicken curry. Then only you would believe my word. That kind of food are more nutritive than fried bacon and sausages for the breakfast.

Other methods.

Some foods that require a long time to cook such as stews and dried beans, may be prepared more quickly in a pressure saucepan.  This utensil cooks foods at high temperatures by means of steam under pressure. Pressure saucepans are also called pressure cookers. By the way not many people can afford these pressure cookers.

Another fast method of cooking uses microwaves (short radio waves). Microwave ovens heat small amounts of foods much faster than gas or electric ovens or cooktops do.  Microwave ovens are especially useful for thawing frozen foods and heating soups, vegetables, and leftovers. Your comments are welcomed [email protected]

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